"Usability isn't about 'the lowest common denominator' as most make it out to be. It's about everyone (including you)"
This is a group blog focused on the discussion of usability, the design of everyday things, Human Computer interaction, website design and beyond. It's founder, Eddie Lopez is a usability/user experience analyst for a big U.S. bank, but there are many contributors and members. Feel free to join and post your thoughts!
We like to discuss things we use in our homes, offices, and cars that we blindly accept "as is" because they are not glorifying enough to focus energy on improving. Small, minor frustrations and annoyances that are tolerated only because we never stop to think of how these "everyday things" could be improved.
In addition, we'll discuss technology, trends and other things in the usability universe.
User Centered believes the following-
Quotes listed are attributed here
1) Until simple, everyday thing are done right, we will continue to make light of their shortcomings. If our objects of interest are so "useless" and mundane, why are they still made poorly?
If we can't even get the simple things right, I ask, how can we have faith in those more complex ones? -Donald Norman
2) No user should feel afraid to use their electronics and devices, or made to feel stupid. Technology should work for us
The answer is not to try to change human nature. It's to embrace the hunting skills that people are bringing online (and to their daily offline media consumption) and to make your media match their needs.-Seth Godin, on what he learned from eye tracking
3) We understand that products cannot match every individual's way of thinking, but surely we can come up with something that matches the way customers think (as opposed to how the engineers building it think)
Engineers and designers assume too much: that since they understand how the gadget works, everyone should..."A whole lot of companies went out of business because their users were too stupid."
4) Just because a device *has* a functionality, does not mean it cannot be improved.
Forget about the killer feature. Welcome to the age of the killer user experience. When technology achieves something desirable without being in your face, when it knows how to integrate itself into your wishes and desires without distracting from them, that's when technology lives up to its potential. Unfortunately, it's not that simple to get there. -Andreas Pfeiffer
5) Do not continue to build products without any thought as to how your customers are using them
5.a) Do not continue to build products without any input from your customers
5.b) Do not always listen to your customers though. They are not always right
6) Less is more. Except when less is less. Simple does not always equal best, nor does complexity. Helping the customer solve problems is "more." (Admittedly- the biggest battle stopping features for the sake of features)
How did every simple piece of earthly equipment become stratospherically high-tech? How did progress become associated with the number of features whose main feature is frustration?
Too many consumers make the mistake of thinking those added features are great just because they are added features
7) Visual designers, developers, executives, usability professionals, etc... they're all right sometimes and all wrong sometimes, Really good ones overlap into each other, but everyone can add *some* value.
The mark of good design is the artful juggling of ... compromises and choices in such a way that the finished design evokes admiration not only for its form and function, but also for its human accomplishment of doing the best under the circumstances. I would not say that nothing should be tampered with, for I think it is the nature of design to tamper. Designers are forever seeking to improve and go beyond what is. It is a human trait that is felt most strongly in creative people, which designers certainly are.
Yes the title is inspired by Donald Norman
Thanks to Dan Alexandru (dantesoft) for the plug: http://www.opera.com/operabits/06/03/
Image in header of the group page is courtesy of Peter Edmondson who posted it to This is Broken
- Open mind on usabilty- just because you don't think that way doesn't mean others don't
- Keep in mind different professions: engineers, designer, usabilty experts- and the difference each bring to the table